Skip to main content

When to ideally start your GRE preparation? - Tips for beginners in making a game-plan

Deepti Abdullah (12+ Years of Experience in GRE Coaching), CFO –ConduiraOnline
Once you decide to write GRE, the first question that comes to your mind is when is the right time to start preparing for GRE? In this week's article, we will look at the right time to start preparing for GRE and how to prepare if you're giving the exam for the first time.

It helps to start early because GRE is a skill-based examination. If you think you can study for 10 days, write GRE practice tests and get a good score, or you know someone who has done that, it is probable that the person already possesses the skill set required to ace GRE.

When to start your GRE preparation?
If you are someone who is doubtful of their skills, it is better to give yourself more time. If you're an engineering student who's planning on studying abroad, it is ideal that you start your GRE prep at the start of the third year. The first semester of the third year would be the right time to start investing very seriously in GRE. This doesn't mean that you have to prepare for a long time. You can prepare for it and then give the GRE test and be done with it. We advise you to finish your preparation by the end of the first semester of the third year and give the GRE test. If you manage to get the score you were aiming for, then you can move ahead with your application process. If not, it helps to give another attempt. Sometimes, the experience of having attempted the GRE once can help improve the performance the next time around. To write the second attempt, you need to have time because according to the ETS rules, the minimum gap between two GRE attempts is 21 days.

By the end of the second semester of the third year, you should have a good GRE score in hand. To get into a good college, GRE isn't the only criteria. GRE is certainly very important but not the only requirement. You need to build your personality profile which can talk about your research interests - further you also need a good score in TOEFL/IELTS - all these require time, so once GRE is done, you can focus on these additional aspects. Once everything is in place, you need to keep in mind the timing of the application. Since you must be planning to go abroad, your application process should begin at least 12 months before the deadline. So, if you are planning to apply for fall next year, your application process should begin by fall this year. If you are able to submit your application early, not only are your chances of admission higher but also your chances at a scholarship.

If you're a beginner preparing for GRE...
Before you actually begin your preparation, make a study plan. Break your time up between the three sections according to your priorities and weaknesses. Give yourself a break day, where you indirectly prepare for GRE by reading novels or newspapers with GRE level vocabulary. So, although you are not exactly studying, you are constantly preparing for GRE. Once you have your plan in place, it is important that you ensure that you are employing the following strategies-
  1. Know your strengths- Most of us Indians, are usually strong in the Quantitative Reasoning section. So, we end up taking this section for granted. To get a good score overall, you should aim for scoring full marks in Quantitative Reasoning. We strongly recommend you to practice questions in Quant Section if you know that this is your strength. Spend some time each day giving a test for this section, and learn from your mistakes. If you believe that your skills in this area are not up to the mark, it is ideal for you to prepare in a structured strategic manner. Make a time-table, understand the concepts, then look at the type of questions asked in GRE.
  2. Area of weakness- The Verbal Reasoning of GRE is focused on vocabulary and unfortunately since we do not speak English too much, most of us are weak in this area. Spend 30 minutes every day, learning and picking up new words. These words may be foreign to you now, but by the end of your preparation these should become a part of your vocabulary. Once you improve your vocabulary, your verbal reasoning scores will increase, thus, improving your overall score.
  3. Analytical Writing- Do not ignore the Analytical Writing section. Often students are so focused on preparing for the other two sections, that they completely ignore the analytical writing section. Despite scoring very well in the Quant and Verbal sections, students do not clear the college's minimum cut for Analytical Writing. The good score in GRE would be useless if you ignore the analytical writing section. Invest your time in practicing writing.
  4. Write Tests- The more tests you write the most clarity and understanding you get of your areas of strength and weakness. Focus on your weak areas, and work towards making them your strengths. Do not worry if initially, your tests aren't producing great results. Writing tests helps you split your time smartly and work effectively.
  5. Give yourself time- GRE is a skill-based test, it is important to give you enough time to prepare. It is okay if you do not reach your goal in the first attempt, there is always room for improvement with your second attempt. If a second attempt can increase your score, it is an investment worth making because it will enable you to get into a good college and thus a great career.

All the best!
Published date : 28 Jan 2019 06:15PM

Photo Stories